Name: Leela Chantrelle
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Current City: Paris, France
Occupation: Literature Teacher
What does poetry mean to you?
Poetry is a means of identifying my own emotions and feeling less alone. (And that is what I hope my poetry could do for people when they read my work.)
My favorite poet is Anne Sexton, and my favorite poems of hers would have to be "For my Lover Returning to his Wife" and "The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator."
Why do you like this poet, these poems?
I like Anne Sexton because she has always felt as closely to myself as I have found in writing, because her poems make me cry and because she writes about masturbation as a marriage between the bed and the self and because no one else can do that. I used to be afraid that I would kill myself like her, now I am more reassured that I will live because of her.
The following is a poem I wrote with Sexton in mind:
Here’s the IV Drip of It All
The grossest part of the body is its own anatomy,
What clothing manages to let loose.
If you closely examine a love handle
You might not understand the temptation
Of the slobber of a lover
Who’s forgotten to get tested
Or how this
Boy pulls me
Back in – even across oceans,
Watch me end
Up in the middle
Of an ocean. Who’s allowing me to survive?
Find your own oasis.
What if it’s not a page?
What if you can’t hold
Me again, but then
Remember this morning I woke up as pieces
Of evidence, my body curdled around yours.
What’s the solution in permanence?
Like a pair of black boxer briefs, black boxers, black.
It’s good when it doesn’t seem dirty after awhile,